Demolition contract for Lambton Generation Station terminated after contractor goes bankrupt

·2 min read

The demolition saga of the Lambton Generation Station continues to drag on as the search for a new contractor begins.

The station – which was closed in 2013 after the provincial government moved away from coal generated electricity – sat until 2018 when JMX Contracting began demolishing it. Work was expected to be completed this summer, but was halted in April when the project was deemed non-essential under COVID guidelines.

Then JMX suddenly filed for bankruptcy later that month, throwing the project into a state of limbo. It remained that way for five months until Ontario Power Generation obtained a court order to terminate JMX’s contract at the end of September. The Crown corporation is now back in control of the site and searching for a contractor to take over the work.

JMX had completed around 60 per cent of the demolition process before going bankrupt.

There is still debate though over what the site is actually worth. The demolition value was originally valued at $90 million, but after an inquiry by St. Clair Township last month the building inspector revised this to $30 million.

The generating station itself was valued at $16 million in 2016, but after an announcement later that year it would be decommissioned this was bumped down to $13,646,000 by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.

At a Nov. 2 meeting members of St. Clair council questioned the large discrepancy between the station’s property value and the demolition value. Treasurer Charles Quenneville says there shouldn’t be too much stock placed on demolition values at this stage.

“When the contractor applied they just wrote in a rough number, it’s not verifiable, there’s no consulting on how they arrive at the value. This is a value they pull from the air,” Quenneville says.

The answer didn’t do much for Mayor Steve Arnold. “If they can just pull it out of the air and it doesn’t matter then what’s going on?”

Quenneville says a more realistic number will emerge at the end of the project. “When everything is demolished there will be another detailed analysis to see what the final value is going to be, and it won’t be related to the actual demolition permit.”

Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent